Bottleology – Woodinville Wine Cellars with Sean Boyd
February 4, 2010 by Dave Bender
During the month of September and through most of October, the grapes of Central Washington reach the end of their maturation process. These grapes are then politely plucked from the vine and taken away to serve a new, more noble, purpose: WINE! Usually under the cover of darkness, blanketed by cooler evening hours preserving freshness, this fruit is transported by truck to the many satellite wineries throughout the state. Awaiting these shipments at the wee hours of the morning, are the men and women who make up the Washington State wine industry. Ladies and gents, please take a bow, we love you!
For Sean Boyd, winemaker of Woodinville Wine Cellars, it was watching a truckload of Sauvignon Blanc grapes show up to the winery that has been one of the most memorable experiences for him as a winemaker—it was his “this is the job for me” moment.
More That Meets The Eye: Sean Boyd isn’t just another wine making descendent from California who moved to Washington State to start fresh. Sean is very well traveled. He’s also made wine in four different countries, loves the wine from Washington State and believes in the potential of this wine region. He gained instant cool points when he told me that his father, Gerald Boyd, was the original editor of Wine Spectator.
Crafts-Man (ship): In the years leading up to making wine (professionally), Sean perfected his craft in many ways. “I started in 1986 at Liquor Barns in California. I worked in wineries as a winemaking apprentice in four countries and spent many hours fine tuning techniques. I have worked harvest, sold wine at retail, and I have been making wine since I moved to Washington in 1998. I love the hands-on experience, and working with people in restaurants and wine shops. I like the craftsmanship,” Sean said.
Kampai: Believe it or not, there is a Taste Washington, Tokyo. In attendance, was Woodinville Wine Cellars and some of Sean’s wines which had just scored 92 points. Feeling a bit like an American idol, Sean said it was a very proud moment for him, “they treated us like stars.”
The Matrix: In the movie The Matrix, in order for Neo to learn new skills or information he must lay back in a chair and have a metal rod jammed into the back of his head. While this process is a really fast way to learn something, it’s perhaps graphically uncomfortable to imagine, and outside of Hollywood, it’s impossible. Sean has come up with a new, more pleasant method to achieve similar results, with regard to wine of course. Here’s what you do:
Sit back in a chair, open a bottle of his wine, say “Odd Man Out,” pour it into a wine glass and relax. Over the duration of time that it takes to enjoy that glass, listen to what this wine says to you. While these messages may be coded much like in The Matrix, try and pick out the important parts. “Fire up the grill,” is what the wine said to me when I gave this method a try. Sean said, “A reward to making wine is that in the end you’re making memories for people.” If Sean were to visit, The Oracle, I know that she’d tell him that he was The One.
Opinions Are Like Assumptions—Everybody Has One: Sean told me that there was one thing in particular that he had to learn the hard way: “Never assume anything!”
Pulling The Plug: I was told that the general philosophy for the winery, first and foremost, is that it’s about food and wine. Here’s the plug: Sean says, “We also sell Lacanche French cooking range (www.frenchranges.com). We’re about whole food and wines—nothing artificial.” Additionally, Sean said, “We make wine as pure as possible. We do very little to the wine after the first racking. My theory is that if you’re doing things correct from the very start, you don’t need to fine, filter or use reverse osmosis.”
Washing-TON: Sean’s goal for the winery is to eventually be producing 5,000 cases annually–which is roughly equivalent to 80 TONS of Washington grapes.
A Mouth Full: Woodinville Wine Cellars, 2007 O.M.O., Columbia Valley 126 Cs. $36
75% Malbec, 25% Petit Verdot
Sean selected this wine for my review, because it showcased how he likes to do things differently sometimes. More specifically, Malbec and Petit Verdot are rarely bottled together without the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. For this reason Sean has named this wine “Odd Man Out,” and he says, “It’s a perfect yin and yang.”
I compare the moment that I saw the blend listed on the bottle to when you hear a new food recipe with ingredients that just sound good together. I got excited. I love the “delicious factor” of these two varietals on their own, and after tasting them together, here’s what I found.
SO, sitting back in my chair, I began. When I saw the color of O.M.O. I was reminded of Malbec from Cahors, France, referred to as “black wine” because of its obnoxiously dark color. This wine looked thick and sinful. My time spent on the nose of this wine was brief, not much going on; however, as though I were on a treasure hunt, I knew that I was going to unearth something big. And I did.
Take all the black fruits at the peak of summer, crush them up between your hands as they ooze out a magnificent purity, and stuff your mouth full—it was exactly that sensation. This wine is THAT bottle the doctor would recommend you have a glass of daily—it actually tastes good for you! It was quenching, showing a thick juicy plum, blackberry, prune character and a finishing brightness of tart raspberry. There are candied elements to this wine that almost makes me think Australia, but it doesn’t go too overboard—but almost. The oak was used just right, vanilla and delicious tannin. This is certainly a happy bottle of wine!
NOW, this wine may not be for the wine geek or the collector looking to tuck one away for the ages, but this wine is still some pretty serious stuff. I would suggest that you break it out when you want to impress that certain someone; it’s more than adequate.
Woodinville Wine Cellars
17721 – 132nd Ave. NE
Woodinville, WA 98072
For an interview or to offer feedback, please contact me: email@example.com